How Carlo used his Talent for Good
About our partnership with Special Olympics Switzerland
Special Olympics is the largest sport organization for people with intellectual disabilities and a non-profit organization whose mission it is to create a more inclusive society by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people. Special Olympics Switzerland provides year-round sports training and athletic competitions in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. This gives them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, have fun and gain confidence, both on and off the playing field.
Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in Switzerland has been a partner of Special Olympics Switzerland since 2016. Our partnership is based on shared beliefs and values and is fully in line with Our Credo and ambition to strengthen local communities and foster a more inclusive society. Through our collaboration, we support Special Olympics in raising awareness of their cause and our employees have the opportunity to volunteer at Special Olympics events – a truly impactful experience resulting in new and unexpected friendships.
Carlo Cocco works as a Finance Manager in Allschwil (Switzerland), and volunteered during the 2020 Special Olympics National Winter Games in Switzerland. The National Games are the largest national sport event for people with intellectual disabilities. Athletes compete in a range of sports, demonstrating their abilities and skills.
In his volunteer role as a Delegate Liaison (DL), Carlo acted as a team leader for a group of downhill skiers. He helped the athletes prepare for the competitions, socialized with them, and supported them emotionally throughout the Games. “I signed up because it seemed like a great experience. I love meeting new people and giving back. However, I had never worked with people with intellectual disabilities. I didn’t really know what to expect.”
As a DL, Carlo got really close both to the athletes and their families and he shared many emotional moments with the team. The most impactful moment was during the medal ceremony, as one of the athletes from his team broke into tears when receiving her gold medal – a medal that symbolized so much more than “just” winning. “For all these athletes it doesn’t really matter if they win – the most important thing is to have fun together and be part of the experience. I play football and for me and my team all that counts is to win – no matter what. Sometimes we forget how privileged each of us are being healthy and able to play football. In my opinion, the fun factor is one of the most important aspects in sports but unfortunately this gets lost quite often due to the tough competition across all levels of sports. Having witnessed the amazing atmosphere, the joy and sense of team spirit at the National Winter Games, I think we could all learn a lot from the Special Olympics athletes and their approach to sport.”
After the Games, Carlo received messages both from the athletes and their families. “One parent wrote me a wonderful message about how I had made their son’s competition experience better and how they appreciated me for my kindness and positive engagement. I would love to soon be able to visit the team again in Basel. I still keep in contact with some of the athletes and its always heart-warming to hear from them.”
According to Carlo, his experience of working hand in hand with people with intellectual disabilities has really given him a new perspective on the world. “I see life from a different angle. I understand the importance of inclusion in our society. I truly see how just a bit of kindness and openness can go a long way.”
Click here to watch Carlo’s video: